Minn. Reaches Out To Senator

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The Minnesota Credit Union Network said it has begun to develop a relationship with new Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. The MCUN had been very active in campaigning for Sen. Paul Wellstone, who was killed in a plane crash 11 days before the election. It says it is now aiming to build a similar relationship with Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul, Minn., and that MCUN President Kevin Chandler has met with Coleman several times since. In addition, Coleman's new state director Erich Mische twice served as Chandler's campaign manager when he was in the Minnesota state Senate, and the two are personal friends.

Meanwhile, some 180 credit union professionals and volunteers were on-hand when the Minnesota Credit Union Network hosted its annual Credit Union Day at the Capitol. Credit union activists visited nearly 100 legislators, with a focus on issues such as taxation and the credit union difference.

"This year's event was especially important due to the high number of new-elected officials that we have in the state legislature," said MCUN CEO Kevin Chandler.

William Horlitz, the new Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Commerce, referred to himself as a "reformed bank examiner," and congratulated the group on the successful passage of the Minnesota Credit Union Protection Act in 2002. "Since the law went into effect, the department has seen six or eight community charter applications, but not the swarm as was expected," Horlitz said.

He also warned credit unions to use caution with expansions in the areas of initial demand and new credit risk with non-loyal members.

Legislators who spoke to the meeting included Sen. Ellen Anderson (D-St. Paul), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee; Sen. Dave Senjem (R-Rochester), newly-elected legislator and board member at Mayo Employees Credit Union; Rep. Matt Entenza (D-St. Paul), House Minority Leader; and, Rep. Doug Stang (R-Cold Spring), author of the 2002 Minnesota Credit Union Protection Act and Chair of the Higher Education Finance Committee and member of the House Commerce Committee.

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